JEROMESVILLE, Ohio — A comedian, a report on what is going on in Washington and the outlook for the dairy industry were on the agenda for the 2013 Ashland County Dairy Service Unit annual meeting.
Darrell Kick, field representative for Congressman Bob Gibbs, told Ashland county dairy producers that right now it looks like the sequester may go through. Gibbs is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
“It is a political football, we can’t keep kicking it down the road,” Kick said. “Sixty percent of the budget is on autopilot and won’t be affected.”
Kick said less than 2 percent of the budget would be reformed under the sequester. Entitlements will not be affected. Kick said the challenge is to reform the budget so the people who truly need help will get what they need.
Farm bill on back burner
He added that Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, who is chairman of the house ag committee, told his committee that the farm bill would be put on the back burner until the budget is resolved. Kick said 80 percent of the farm bill is allocated toward nutrition programs, leaving 20 percent for farm payments, administration and marketing. Kick said farmers need the stability of a long term farm bill.
“It may be September before we see a farm bill,” he said. “Some people think the government should go away, but there is still talk of a safety net, more along the lines of crop insurance instead of direct payments.”
From a dairy perspective, Kick said Gibbs is not in favor of supply management.
“It is not good to hinder growth for some farmers and not for others,” he said.
Dr. Owen Mickley, of Vita Plus, concurred with Kick on the farm bill situation and the challenges it presents for farmers.
“The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population, but 18 percent of the total ground and 21 percent of the fresh water.”
Mickley reminded producers that with the push toward electric cars and other types of green energy, rare earth elements present just as much of a concern for the U.S. as foreign oil, as China and Iran have major deposits of the elements needed to produce batteries and other components.
“We need to keep the export market going, that is what the world wants,” he said. “It is a hungry world out there. If we shut down the export market, it will be a disaster. Milk, especially dry powdered milk can be readily exported to China. The middle east is also seeing a growing demand for cheese, but the constant turmoil is hurting the markets.
“Farmers feed an incredible number of people,” he said. “Look at where you are, there are opportunities in the industry, but they are different from farm to farm.”
Kevin Sprang, a member of the Ashland County Dairy Service Unit board, said in light of the fact there were only eight herds in the county with a total of 4,327 cows still on official test and 66 percent of those cows were on three farms, the board was looking at some new ideas to recognize producers for their accomplishments. This year, instead of presenting awards, the board highlighted the accomplishments of the county’s dairy producers during their annual banquet.
Ayers Farm was named as the top 3X herd in Ashland County for milk, fat and protein with 28,437 pounds of milk, 964 pounds of fat and 827 pounds of protein.
Rounding out the top 3x herds for milk fat and protein were and Idyl Wild Farms with 25,001 pounds of milk, 882 pounds of fat and 782 pounds of protein and Willow Brook Farm, with 23,604 pounds of milk, 833 pounds of fat and 728 pounds of protein. Idyl Wild Farms also had the county’s lowest somatic cell count for 3X herds with 149,000.
The top Holstein cows, for milk, fat and protein on 3X were owned by Ayars Farm. The top cow for milk produced 38,063 pounds of milk, while the top Holstein for fat produced 1,515 and the top Holstein for protein produced 1,124 pounds of protein.
Clair Oberholtzer had the top 2X herd in Ashland County for milk, fat and protein with 22,908 pounds of milk, 873 pounds of fat and 692 pounds of protein.
Rounding out the top 2x herds were Emerald Quest with 21,855 pounds of milk, 753 pounds of fat and 683 pounds of protein, U-Dean Farms with 20,963 pounds of milk, 772 pounds of fat and 646 pounds of protein, Terry Timmons with 19,428 pounds of milk, 722 pounds of fat and 613 pounds of protein and Scenic Hill Jerseys with 16,761 pounds of milk, 785 pounds of fat and 637 pounds of protein.
Top dairy herds
Terry Timmons had the county’s lowest somatic cell count for 2x herds with 74,000.
The top Holstein cow for milk and protein on 2X was owned by Clair Oberholtzer and produced 35,002 pounds of milk and 993 pounds of protein. U-Dean Farm had the top 2X Holstein for fat with 1,373 pounds of fat.
Scenic Hill Jerseys had the county’s top Jersey cow with a completed record of 23,651 pounds of milk, 1,096 pounds of fat and 973 pounds of protein.